Trump has been tough on Russia according to his Press Secretary Sean Spicer
The irony of this entire situation is that the president has been incredibly tough on Russia
The White House made the claims during a press conference following the resignation of Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security advisor, for misleading the White House about his Russian connections.
Spicer said: “The irony of this entire situation is that the president has been incredibly tough on Russia.
“He continues to raise the issue of Crimea, which the previous administration allowed to be seized by Russia.
“His ambassador to the United Nations, stood before the UN Security Council on her first day and strongly denounced the Russian occupation of Crimea.”
Spicer claimed Russia should 'return' the Crimea to the Ukraine
The strong tone represents a change in opinion for Trump as he claimed last year: “The people of Crimea, from what I've heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were."
Spicer added: “President Trump has made it very clear that he expects the Russian government to de-escalate violence in Ukraine and return Crimea.
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A round is fired from an M1A2 Main Battle Tank belonging to 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division during the first Live Fire Accuracy Screening Tests at Presidential Range in Swietozow, Poland
“At the same time, he fully expects to and wants to be able to get along with Russia, unlike previous administrations, so that we can solve many problems together facing the world, such as ISIS and terrorism.”
The ambassador that Spicer referred to was Nikki Haley, who said on February 2: “Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control of the peninsula to Ukraine.”
The Obama administration responded to Russian aggression by placing sanctions on Russia that included travel bans and the freezing of their US assets.
Senior Democrat Adam Schiff said: “Mr Flynn's departure would not end questions about contacts between Donald Trump's campaign and Russia.”
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Former US President Barack Obama placed sanctions on Russia when they annexed the Crimea
Schiff also said he wants a probe to pursue matters that led to the resignation of Mike Flynn, including whether he was acting on President Trump's behalf when he had multiple phone and text contacts with Russia's ambassador to the US.
The American intelligence community have concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump and hurt Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
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